What Missouri’s new law means for craft beer

A stop at the local convenience store may soon come with the option to fill up more than just your gas tank.

Iowa-based Kum & Go announced this week that it plans to take advantage of legislation, signed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and set to take effect late next month, that allows retailers to refill jugs of draft beer commonly known as “growlers.”

Growlers — which are typically 64 ounces — currently can only be filled at the breweries where the beer is produced, and in a very limited number of restaurants.

Growlers are most popular with fans of craft beer. The leader of Springfield-based microbrewery, however, said he was dismayed to see Nixon sign Senate Bill 919 on July 1. It’s not that the growlers are a problem, they say — it’s that they don’t make up for another provision in the law.

“I am thrilled to have growlers in Missouri,” Mother’s Brewing Company owner Jeff Schrag said. “I just hate that it came with the cooler thing.”

Schrag, who is also head of the trade association Missouri Small Brewers Guild, was referencing an aspect of the law that allows brewers to lease branded refrigerated units to retailers. Schrag said only multinational beverage giants like Anheuser-Busch Inbev have the financial capabilities to make such arrangements and that Inbev pushed for the legislation in an effort to take greater control of the market.

The cooler provision goes into effect in January and will sunset in three years unless the legislature extends it.

Read more: Springfield News-Leader

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